A terrible stereotype that many hold about those with addiction is that they have a character flaw, are weak-willed or are immoral. What many don’t realize is that many, if not all, of those with an addiction don’t want to be addicted – they developed a harmful habit that eventually got out of control. Just as someone who eats too much sugar each day may eventually develop diabetes or another condition, someone with an addiction has slipped into it without even realizing it, and it’s often not that simple to quit.
USA Today claims that nearly 21 million Americans struggle with substance addictions, equating to 1 in 7 people. As a person begins taking drugs, the “feel good” chemical in the brain, dopamine, is released, connecting feelings of pleasure to the drug and memories are stored of this interaction in the brain’s hippocampus. This causes a person to associate the drug with good feelings, and thus cues a person to want to take the drug again. Individuals who have not yet developed a physical dependence on a drug may consider themselves to use recreationally – this can easily and subtly turn into addiction when the person begins to constantly crave the drug, which leads them to think and act differently than they did before.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that as a person continues using drugs, the brain becomes accustomed to the overflow of dopamine and begins to believe it needs that much to feel happy and relaxed. This is the point at which a person’s recreational use has become out of control, because now their brain chemicals are altered. Long-term use changes brain chemicals that interact with a person’s learning, judgment, decision-making, stress, memory, and behavior.
With this change occurring in the brain, a person may begin lying, stealing, experiencing trouble at work or home, become financially unstable, may borrow money from others, and more to fuel the habit their body now requires. This is the point at which the person needs professional help at a treatment center to detox, enter therapy, and join support groups. Time Magazine notes that many drugs are illegal and prohibited because of their propensity for abuse and addiction, yet there are still many Americans who struggle with addiction.
If you are currently struggling with a substance addiction, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today.